photos by Daniel Golani
Growing up, the holidays were a time of nothing but fun and laughter and a sea of toys. It never crossed my mind how stressful it all must have been on my parents, nor did I realize how much work goes into all of those special holiday traditions until I became a parent myself. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas with all of my Hallmark Channel-movie-watching-heart. I really, really love it. But I think because I enjoy the month of December so much, it makes the post-Christmas blues that much more of a real thing. I want to be excited about a new year and "fresh start", but I can't help but be a little sad that the previous year has come to a close and another much-anticipated Christmas is over.
It doesn't help that out little family of 3 travels to West Texas for 10 days every Christmas to be with our families, which is absolutely wonderful while we're there but not so much once we arrive back home. The Christmas decor is depressingly dusty by the time we drag into our house at 2am after a day of driving across the state, and our house looks like a bomb went off once we carry in all of the unwrapped packages and 29 pieces of luggage. Oh and the laundry...how could I forget the laundry? It's like we go straight from holiday bliss to work overload without any kind of a fair warning. The lawn has grown 3 feet in our short absence (we live in Houston where it's green all year, remember) so Zach has to immediately go into Yard-Man-mode, and there are inevitably 47 clothing gifts that don't fit and have to be returned (I blame my Mamaw's chocolate pie). Any way you wanna look at it, those "visions of sugarplums" are quickly followed by "visions of a vacation" (yes, right after the so called Christmas vacation!). This year, Zach and I have tried implementing some new techniques into our post-holiday routine to better ease back into our daily lives. We're still waist deep in laundry (and grass in the backyard), but our sanity is thanking us.
Here are 7 steps that are helping us with the holiday aftermath:
1. Unpack first thing. We arrived home super late from our 10 day trip to West Texas last week, but we still completely unpacked and put things away that night. I didn't want to have to wake up the next day and see luggage, dirty clothes, and trash bags full of new toys scattered around the house. Even though it takes a little more effort to unpack when you're exhausted and just want to fall into bed, you'll thank yourself the next day that it's done.
2. Start the laundry. Don't put it off- the piles will only accumulate more and more (I swear they multiply by the minute). Getting that first load going will be a relief and one step closer to that clean house you so vaguely remember from pre-holiday.
3. Take a break. There are endless things to do- emails to catch up on, bills to pay, decor to be put away...it's easy to get so caught up in chores that you forget to take a little time for yourself. Don't lose that holiday vibe totally- it's better to ease out of it while still indulging in a treat here and there (best done whilst catching up on your favorite shows you missed).
4. Remember the joy of your own bed. If you're wishing you were still on holiday, take a moment to reflect on just how much you missed your own bed and pillow. Focus on that to be happier back at home!
5. Drink some water. I never drink enough water while we're traveling (probably for fear of not knowing where the next bathroom will be), and it takes a pretty big toll on my skin and overall health. Rehydrating always makes me feel so much better and helps me focus on all the tasks ahead.
6. Put away the Christmas decor. This is just a personal preference, as I know a lot of people who like to keep their holiday decor up through January. I don't wait until New Year's Day; I get that stuff in the attic the day after we arrive back home. Maybe it's just me, but there's something slightly depressing about a Christmas tree that was just surrounded by presents only to now have nothing underneath but a sea of pathetic pine needles and glitter (where does all the glitter come from?!). The longer you leave out the decor, the more reminders you'll have that the holiday has come to an end.
7. Plan a vacation. The ominous feeling of having no vacation in sight can be depressing, especially paired with a messy house and mile-long To Do list. Begin planning your next trip by starting a vacation fund or Pinterest board of travel destination ideas. Having something to look forward to and to research can boost your mood and encourage positive thoughts about the future.
It's also pretty hard to have the blues when you have a sweet little Bear running around, stealing Cheetos from the pantry and telling his one and only joke:
"You put ham on a trampoline and what have you got?"
"I don't know, what?"
Cracks him up every time. We need to buy a bag of Laffy Taffy's and get the kid some new material.
Hope you're recovering from the craziness of the holidays and enjoying the New Year (sans laundry)!